Long days, short nights
When I first started my Fashion Design degree, I expected it to be a lot of work but I wasn’t really prepared to dedicate my whole life to it I guess. I had just turned 18, freshly moved to Paris and I wanted to do it all. Discover a new city, make new friends, get my degree all while reading books, seeing exhibitions and doing a little bit of shopping. I realised quickly that it would be impossible to do it all and I found myself putting all nighters and becoming a regular at Starbucks before the end of my first semester. Fashion Design is hard work and it takes a lot of time. Between research, sketches, pattern and the actual creation, you’ll have little to no free time. Be ready to dedicate yourself heart & soul to your studies but don’t forget to take care of yourself in the same time.
You can do anything but not everything
As far as I can remember, I’ve always been a perfectionist. I like things to be done perfectly and I always put pressure on myself to do everything right. While I’ve learnt to let go a bit over the years, that wasn’t the case when I was a student. I would spend hours trying to do something right just because I didn’t want to admit that I simply wasn’t good at it. So, learn from my mistakes and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice or even to delegate a portion of your work if you don’t feel good enough to do it on your own. Of course, I am not talking about major subjects like drawing or sewing (the harder you work, the better you get), I am talking about more specific things like dyeing lace for a project or using technical materials for another.
The school fees for studying Fashion Design are usually very high. I was astonished the first time I saw them on paper but what I didn’t really realise was that there’s more to it. Buying supplies costs nearly as much as half the price of your school fees and some teachers requires certain brands that are not only hard to find but also pretty pricey. My advice would be to save money where you can, try to collect pre-loved supplies, like a sewing machine or a dummy, when you can & buy in bulk with fellow students to reduce the costs.
I’ve always struggle with my self esteem and surely enough, my fashion studies didn’t really help. I would sometimes come back home crying (true story) just because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I am all for constructive criticism but honestly, when my teachers simply said ‘it’s ugly, you’re not good at this, this should go straight to the bin’ (true story as well), I felt like crap and took that comment personally rather than professionally. It will take time, and probably a few tears, but it’s worth it because in the end, you’ll learn your true value and you’ll stand up for yourself. Just remember to take a step back: this people are judging a fraction of your work and not you as a person.
Breathe fashion, eat fashion, live fashion
I absolutely love fashion. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been reading books about French designers, watching movies about fashion and visited the V&A textiles section more times than I can count. But when you’re studying fashion design, fashion becomes your life. Of course, it’s what you’re studying and working on but there’s also quite a bit of pressure to stay up to date with recent shows, news or trends. Which means that your free time is often spent reading magazines like Women’s Wear daily or seeing exhibitions all across town about talented designers. I personally loved it but it has to be your real passion otherwise it’s just not worth it.
If you have any other question about Fashion Design or if you’d like me to talk more in depth about a certain topic, feel free to leave me any request in the comments down below!